Cell-free circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) can act as a noninvasive cancer biomarker, offering a potential alternative to invasive tissue biopsies. Translational cancer researchers are investigating the use of liquid biopsies to detect ctDNA from tumors.1 In the future, ctDNA could potentially serve as a noninvasive approach for real-time monitoring of treatment response and identifying candidates for therapy.2
Next-generation sequencing (NGS) offers the sensitivity and specificity that researchers need to detect low levels of ctDNA in the bloodstream. In addition to targeting a single gene or a subset of genes, NGS can also identify genome-wide tumor-derived alterations in ctDNA.
Traditionally, serum-based proteins have been used as cancer biomarkers, but this method has limited utility, as it does not provide information about driver mutations or tumor heterogeneity.1 Somatic mutations in tumor DNA offer a much more specific and accurate biomarker.
The advent of NGS and increased knowledge of genomic alterations associated with cancer are making it feasible to identify rare somatic mutations sensitively and accurately.
According to Professor Jo Vandesompele, PhD, liquid biopsy testing based on DNA analysis is growing rapidly for cancer applications. He also sees significant growth opportunities for RNA analysis in the liquid biopsy space and outside of the field of oncology. He discusses ongoing research aimed at deciphering the role of long non-coding RNA in cancer.Read Interview
In the future, circulating tumor DNA sequencing might play a role in cancer diagnosis, prognosis, and measuring treatment response.
NGS analysis of exosomal DNA found in the blood of pancreatic cancer subjects gives researchers insight into the potential of liquid biopsies.Read Article
Whole-genome sequencing of ctDNA samples enables researchers to analyze nucleosome patterns and infer the gene expression status of cancer driver genes.Read Article
Dr. Phil Febbo, Chief Medical Officer at Illumina, discusses the future potential of liquid biopsies and circulating tumor DNA analysis.Read Article
Assay targeting multiple somatic variant types from plasma, including tumor mutational burden and microsatellite instability.View Product
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Combines scalable throughput, speed, and flexibility for virtually any sequencing method, genome, and scale of project.View System